….lying down on a bench under a large fig, light filtered through the canopy on a mostly blue sky with faint wisps of clouds. The smell of rotis being fried in the air making me hungrier by the second. Our Obscure Abu trip with Bike N Hike was coming to an end. Only one adventure remained. In the past 36 hours we had trekked for more than 5 hours covering a distance of around 9-10 kms. This trip had totally shattered my myth about Mt. Abu!
Mt. Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a 4 hrs drive from Ahmedabad. It is not really known as a Wildlife Sanctuary but a hill station with booze to commoners and ignorant fools like me. A chill in the air outside informed us that we were now far from the hot urban chaos of the Ahmedabad city, driving on winding hilly roads of Abu towards our campsite.
The campsite was a dream with a large fig making the roof for our dining and ‘lounging area’ on top of a ridge . It offered stunning views of the small houses and palm tree lined hills at a distance. We gaped at the mesmerising sunrise while hot aloo parathas were being served for breakfast. The morning couldn’t have been more perfect! Oh and what tea! (I will take this ocassion to clarify that I am a complete foody. So don’t be shy and do invite me for some good food.)
I absolutely love trekking and was treated with two long treks to amazingly diverse locations. On the first day we walked through dense jungles known to be ideal for bears and leopards Although we didn’t spot any, they did leave some special signs for us to read! But our salvation lay in the amazing black tea made for us by nomadic cattle rearers. These amazing people live under rocks surrounded by rock lined walls designed for optimum utilization of natural light and a 24/7 natural air-conditioner. The calves stayed with them in these warm homely caves.
The night-trek later in the day brought me face to face with a beautiful Green Keelback and a civet(a mammal) which I have never seen in the wild.
As alcohol is injurious to health and I don’t want to promote boozing on my blog. I will censor out the part about the amazing barbecue chicken prepared by Vipulbhai, the chinezze faried yaappuls (for some pineyaaappuls) with Black dog and ‘5 or none’-kingfisher’s that got us all a bit ‘tipsy’with happiness!
The next day started of with another yummy breakfast and a trek to the upper Kodra Dam, where we did a bit of caving. What is caving you ask? Ohh, we just crawl through a dark damp slit in a rock, without a torch, to reach the light at the other end! As we were resting by the shadow of this rock, we were treated with a wonderful raptor sighting, later IDed as an Eurasian Hobby. Sadly, couldn’t get some good shots of the bird. But here’s a Panoramic shot of the Kodra Dam site…
….lying down on a bench under a large fig, light filtered through the canopy on a mostly blue sky with faint wisps of clouds. The smell of rotis being fried in the air making me hungrier by the second. Our Obscure Abu trip with Bike N Hike was coming to an end…….
At a distance Vipul Ramanuj, Catherene and Bijal Ma’am were readying the ropes & equipment on a cliff for the evening rappelling session. I made it to the top of the cliff eager to rappel, which I was doing just the second time. Vipul asked me if I want to do something more exciting and showed me a narrow gap between two large rocks which I can make use to climb up (known as a Chimneying by mountaineers) . I was reminded of the movie Lakshya and that scene of the soldiers climbing freehand through a gap.The climb was not hard or high but it was my first so all the more exciting. As I slowly skidded between the rock, using my back, arms and legs, pushing and slowly moving up, it felt great, no strings attached, free! Being at the top was just a incentive what mattered was, how I got there. It was all Gooohhhd!!
That evening, rappel, I did and that too not once but twice! I left Abu with a heavy heart loaded with warm memories and great new friends. A special thanks to Kshitish for sharing his wonderful knowledge about butterflies!